Series PR Report

Hickory, NC (March 18, 2012) – Ronnie Bassett Jr. took advantage of his outside-pole starting spot to win Saturday night’s UARA-STARS season opener at Hickory Motor Speedway. Following a late, fierce battle for the lead, he emerged ahead of Sunoco pole sitter Andy Mercer who finished second, rookie contender Ben Rhodes, Roger Powell and Garrett Campbell.

Jumping ahead of pole sitter Mercer, Ronnie Bassett, Jr., grabbed the lead early in the race. Around lap 10, Bassett realized he needed to save his equipment and began to hang back. With twenty laps to go Bassett Jr. began to make his move. On the final restart on lap 143, Bassett Jr. found himself back on the front row with pole winner Andy Mercer on his outside. The two drivers battled door-to-door to the checkered flag, ending with Bassett in victory lane.

“These guys worked so hard on this car this offseason and we knew it was going to be fast, we just didn’t know it was going to be this fast,” said Bassett in victory lane following the event. “They didn’t get this car finished until a couple of weeks ago and we were only able to test once before this race. Chris and the entire crew busted their butts and we’re here for blood on this championship this year.”

Although Mercer and Bassett Jr. were the two to beat late in the race, Roger Powell certainly had a good start to the night as he led the opening half of the race. Powell raced three wide with Garret Campbell and Rookie of the Race Ben Rhodes during the seven lap final shootout. Rhodes was able to pull it off with Powell in fourth and Campbell rounding out the top five.

“We really worked hard to come out here and win this race,” said Mercer after running second. “My brother put a wacky setup under the car that we’ve never tried and it was fast all weekend long. We just didn’t quite have enough for Ronnie late in the race. But this is a good start for all of our sponsors and we’re always searching for more to help us run the rest of the tour. We needed this. This will be good going to Dillon.”

The first caution of the 2012 season fell on lap 27 when Randy Hawkins got together with Trey Marcham and spun on the high side between turns one and two. The spin had a domino effect, causing Giles Thornton and Cory Joyce to spun on the low side to avoid the calamity.

Hawkins was also involved with the second caution, when he and Darrick Coomer made contact on the backstretch on lap 84. Coomer suffered right-front damage and Hawkins was also able to continue.

The last two cautions of the night included a spin by Thornton, which caused Camden Murphy to get pinned up against the inside wall by Devin Jones, and a spin by Brandon Jones, who spun while trying to stay off of Tim George Jr.’s machine with 12 laps to go.

Another UARA-STARS competitor that had a great start to the night was Kaleb Pressley. Pressley started the night in 14th place, but by lap 20 he was in second challenging for the lead. Unfortunately loss of oil pressure forced him to park his car with only 50 laps to go.

Joey Herques won the season opener’s Holley Performer of the Race Award, his second such award of his UARA career. Herques started 26th and worked his way through the field and finished 14th, making him the driver who gained the most positions during the race.

The next stop for the UARA-STARS will be on April 7th at Dillon Motor Speedway in Dillon, South Carolina, for another 150-lap contest and the series’ only visit to the track this year.  The event will also be broadcast LIVE on a pay-per-view basis at as will the remainder of the 16-race UARA schedule.

UARA-STARS 150 Results
1. #04 Ronnie Bassett — 150 Laps
2. #10 Andy Mercer — 150
3. #9 Ben Rhodes — 150
4. #23 Roger Powell — 150
5. #12 Garrett Campbell — 150
6. #44 Dillon Bassett — 150
7. #88 Josh Wright — 150
8. #11 Matt Piercy — 150
9. #99 Jake Morris — 150
10. #58 Scott Turlington — 150
11. #28 Travis Swaim — 150
12. #32 Trey Marcham — 150
13. #2 Tim George Jr — 150
14. #26 Joey Herques — 150
15. #89 Sean Shalvoy — 150
16. #16 Tyler Laing — 150
17. #03 Randy Hawkins — 150
18. #27 Jeremy Pike — 149
19. #33 Brandon Jones — 149
20. #35 Devin Jones — 149
21. #96 Giles Thornton — 149
22. #3 Camden Murphy — 149
23. #09 Darrick Coomer — 146
24. #20 Cory Joyce — 145
25. #14 Sean Rayhall — 129
26. #8 Clayton Pyne — 104
27. #54 Kaleb Pressley — 98
28. #6 William Gallher — 0